Antonio Hester pointed the way and the rest of Manolia took the cue, resulting in a cruising 108-95 win Friday that was the Hotshots’ first in the PBA Governors Cup at the MOA Arena.
The former Terrafirma import marked his first game back and for his new team by notching game-highs of 28 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while providing Magnolia the inside presence it sorely lacked with the continued absence of star center Ian Sangalang.
No less than winning coach Chito Victolero said so after his team finally crashed the win-column on its fourth try while dealing Phoenix a second straight loss that dropped it to 1-5 overall.
“It changed a lot of our movements, especially ‘yung offensive schemes namin because without Ian, we don’t have any post threat,” stated Victolero before pointing to Hester and adding: “That’s why we got this guy, to open up the floor, give our guards the chance to get their clear shots.”
Victolero also went as far as saying Hester is sure to churn out better performances once he grows more familiar with his teammates. “Medyo nag-a-adjust pa ito,” offered the coach.
“Good thing, three days of practices with us ‘yung defensive scheme and offensive scheme namin nagawa niya kaagad.”
Hester did not do it all by himself as Mark Barroca came up with his best game yet of the conference to the tune of 18 points while Calvin Abueva submitted his own double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds on top of five dimes.